The Federal Government has ordered all network providers to cancel the ₦20 charge for the retrieval of the National Identification Number (NIN) with immediate effect.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami gave the order in a statement issued on Friday, December 18, 2020.
The Government’s directive which takes immediate effect is an intervention aimed at making the process easier and affordable.
“In a letter conveying the implementation of the directive, the Executive vice Chairman of NCC and the Director-General of NIMC informed Dr Pantami that the relevant authorities had met with, and negotiated a waiver with the Mobile Network Operators in that regard.
By this waiver, all Nigerians, subscribers and applicants can access the service using the *346# code for their NIN retrieval at no charge for the duration of the NIN/SIM Card integration exercise.
Few days back, the Federal Government had directed that all NIN should be integrated with the Subscriber Identification Modules for security purposes and ordered the network operators to ask all their subscribers to provide valid NIN to update their records and suspend SIM registration.
The development sparked diverse reactions from Nigerians who questioned the rationale behind the short notice, insisting the time frame was short.
The House of Representatives was the first to call on the National Communications Commission (NCC) to extend the 31st December 2020 deadline issued to sim card owners to submit their NIN to their network providers to prevent blocking.
The motion was moved on Wednesday, December 16, 2029, during plenary by the House Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu.
According to the Lawmaker, two weeks is too short for 200 million Nigerians to conclude the process.
The House lauds the intention of the NCC, for security reasons but wants the process to be extended to 10 weeks, considering the difficulty experienced by Nigerians in attaining the NIN.